Chrysostom He 1600
1600 He 9,15-23
that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first Testament, they which are called might receive the promise of an eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.1 For a testament is of force after men are dead,2 otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon3 neither the first [testament] was dedicated4without blood.”
[1.] It was probable that many of those who were more weakly would especially distrust the promises of Christ because He had died. Paul accordingly out of a superabundance introduced this illustration,5 deriving it from common custom. Of what kind is it? He says, “indeed, on this very account we ought to be of good courage.” On what account? Because testaments are established and obtain their force when those who have made them are not living, but dead. “And for this cause,” he says, “He is the Mediator of the New Testament.” A Testament is made towards the last day, [the day] of death.
And a testament is of this character: It makes some heirs, and some disinherited. So in this case also: “I will that where I am,” Christ says, “they also may be.” (Jn 17,24). And again of the disinherited, hear Him saying, “I pray not for” all, “but for them that believe on Me through their word.” (Jn 17,20). Again, a testament has relation both to the testator, and to the legatees; so that they have some things to receive, and some to do, So also in this case. For after having made promises innumerable, He demands also something from them, saying, “a new commandment I give unto you.” (Jn 13,34). Again, a testament ought to have witnesses. Hear Him again saying, “I am one that bear witness of Myself, and He that sent Me beareth witness of Me.” (Jn 8,18). And again, “He shall testify of Me” (Jn 15,26), speaking of the Comforter. The twelve Apostles too He sent, saying, “Bear ye witness before God.”6
1602 [2.] “And for this cause” (he says) “He is the Mediator of the New Testament.” What is a “Mediator”? A mediator is not lord of the thing of which he is mediator, but the thing belongs to one person, and the mediator is another: as for instance, the mediator of a marriage is not the bridegroom, but one who aids him who is about to be married. So then also here: The Son became Mediator between the Father and us. The Father willed not to leave us this inheritance, but was wroth against us, and was displeased [with us] as being estranged [from Him]; He accordingly became Mediator between us and Him, and prevailed with Him.
And what then? How did He become Mediator? He brought words from [Him] and brought [them to us], conveying over7 what came from the Father to us, and adding His own death thereto. We had offended: we ought to have died: He died for us and made us worthy of the Testament. By this is the Testament secure,in that henceforward it is not made for the unworthy. At the beginning indeed, He made His dispositions as a father for sons; but afterwe had become unworthy, there was no longer need of a testament, but of punishment.
Why then (he would say) dost thou think upon the law? For it placed us in a condition of so great sin, that we could never have been saved, if our Lord had not died for us;8 the law would not have had power, for it is weak.
1603 [3.] And he established this no longer from common custom only, but also from what happened under the old [Testament]: which especially influenced them. There was no one who died there: how then could that [Testament] be firm? In the same way (he says). How? For blood was there also, as there is blood here. And if it was not the blood of the Christ, do not be surprised; for it was a type. “Whereupon,” he says, “neither was the first [Testament] dedicated without blood.”
What is “was dedicated”? was confirmed, was ratified. The word “whereupon”9 means “for this cause.” It was needful that the symbol of the Testament should be also that of death.
For why (tell me) is the book of the testament sprinkled? (He 8,19-20) “For” (he says) “when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you:” Tell me then why is the book of the testament sprinkled, and also the people, except on account of the precious blood, figured from the first? Why “with hyssop”? It is close and retentive 10 And why the “water”? It shows forth also the cleansing by water. And why the “wool”? this also [was used], that the blood might be retained. In this place blood and water show forth the same thing, 11 for baptism is His passion. 12
1604 [4.] He 9,21-22. “Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost 13 all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Why the “almost”? why did he qualify it? Because those [ordinances] were not a perfect purification, nor a perfect remission, but half-complete and in a very small degree. But in this case He says, “This is the blood 14 of the New Testament, which is shed for you, for the remission of sins.” (Mt 26,28).
Where then is “the book”? He purified their minds. They themselves then were the books of the New Testament. But where are “the vessels of the ministry”? They are themselves. And where is“the tabernacle”? Again, they are; for “I will dwell in them,” He says, “and walk in them.” (2Co 6,16).
1605 [5.] But they were not sprinkled with “scarlet wool,” nor yet “with hyssop.” Why was this? Because the cleansing was not bodily but spiritual, and the blood was spiritual. How? It flowed not from the body of irrational animals, but from the Body prepared by the Spirit. With this blood not Moses but Christ sprinkled us, through the word which was spoken; “This is the blood of the New Testament, for the remission of sins.” This word, instead of hyssop, having been dipped in the blood, sprinkles all. And there indeed the body was cleansed outwardly, for the purifying was bodily; but here, since the purifying is spiritual, it entereth into the soul,and cleanseth it, not being simply sprinkled over, but gushing forth in our souls. The initiated understand what is said. And in their case indeed one sprinkled just the surface; but he who was sprinkled washed it off again; for surely he did not go about continually stained with blood. But in the case of the soul it is not so, but the blood is mixed with its very substance, making it vigorous and pure, and leading it to the very unapproachable beauty.
1606 [6.] Henceforward then he shows that His death is the cause not only of confirmation, but also of purification. For inasmuch as death was thought to be an odious thing, and especially that of the cross, he says that it purified, even a precious purification, and in regard to greater things. Therefore the sacrifices preceded, because of this blood. Therefore the lambs; everything was for this cause.
He 9,23. “It was therefore necessary that the Patterns” 15 (he says) “of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”
And how are they “patterns 16 of things in the heavens”? And what does he mean now by “the things in the heavens”? Is it Heaven? Or is it the Angels? None of these, but what is ours. 17 It follows then that our things are in Heaven, and heavenly things are ours, even though they be accomplished on earth; since although angels are on earth, yet they are called Heavenly. And the Cherubim appeared on earth, but yet are heavenly. And why do I say “appeared”? nay rather they dwell on earth, as indeed in Paradise: but this is nothing; for they are heavenly. 18 And, “Our conversation is in Heaven” (Ph 3,20), and yet we live here.
“But these are the heavenly things,” that is, the philosophy which exists amongst us; those who have been called thereto. 19
“With better sacrifices than these.” What is “better” is better than something [else] that is good. Therefore “the patterns also of things in the heavens” have become good; for not even the patterns were evil: else the things whereof they are patterns would also have been evil).
1607 [7.] If then we are heavenly, and have obtained such a sacrifice, 20 let us fear. Let us no longer continue on the earth; for even now it is possible for him that wishes it, not to be on the earth. For to be and not to be on the earth is the effect of moral disposition and choice. For instance; God is said to be in Heaven. Wherefore? not because He is confined by space, 21 far from it, nor as having left the earth destitute of His presence, but by His relation to and intimacy with 22 the Angels. If then we also are near to God, we are in Heaven. For what care I about Heaven when I see the Lord of Heaven, when I myself am become a Heaven? “For,” He says, “We will come,” I and the Father, “and will make our abode with him.” (Jn 14,23).
Let us then make our soul a Heaven. The heaven is naturally bright; for not even in a storm does it become black, for it does not itself change its appearance, but the clouds run together and cover it. Heaven has the Sun; we also have the Sun of Righteousness. I said it is possible to become a Heaven; and I see that it is possible to become even better than Heaven. How? when we have the Lord of the Sun. Heaven is throughout pure and without spot; it changes not either in a storm or in the night. Neither let us then be so influenced either by tribulations or by “the wiles of the devil” (Ep 6,11), but let us continue spotless and pure. Heaven is high and far from the earth. Let us also effect this [as regards ourselves]; let us withdraw ourselves from the earth, and exalt ourselves to that height, and remove ourselves far from the earth. Heaven is higher than the rains and the storms, and is reached by none of them. This we also can do, if we will.
It does appear to be, but is not really so affected. Neither then let us be affected, even if we appear to be so. For as in a storm, most men know not the beauty of [heaven,] but think that it is changed, while philosophers know that it is not affected at all, so with regard to ourselves also in afflictions; most men think that we are changed with them, and that affliction has touched our very heart, but philosophers know that it has not touched us.
1608 [8.] Let us then become heaven, let us mount up to that height, and so we shall see men differing nothing from ants. I do not speak of the poor only, nor the many, but even if there be a general there, even if the emperor be there, we shall not distinguish the emperor, nor the private person. We shall not know what is gold, or what is silver, or what is silken or purple raiment: we shall see all things as if they were flies, if we be seated in that height. There is no tumult there, no disturbance, nor clamor.
And how is it possible (one says) for him who walks on the earth, to be raised up to that height? I do not tell it thee in words, but I show thee in fact those who have attained to that height. Who then are they?
I mean such as Paul, who being on earth, spent their lives in heaven. But why do I say “in heaven”? They were higher than the Heaven, yea than the other heaven, and mounted up to God Himself. For, “who” (he says) “shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rm 8,35). And again, “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” (2Co 4,18). Seest thou that he did not even see the things here? But to show thee that he was higher than the heavens, hear him saying himself, “For I am persuaded that neither death, or life, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ.” (Rm 8,38-39).
Seest thou how thought, hurrying past all things, made him higher not than this creation only, not than these heavens, but even [than any other also] if any other there were? Hast thou seen the elevation of his mind? Hast thou seen what the tent-maker became, because he had the will, he who had spent his whole life in the market-place?
1609 [9.] For there is no hindrance, no not any, but that we may rise above all men, if we have the will. For if we are so successful in arts that are beyond the reach of the generality, much more in that which does not require so great labor.
For, tell me, what is more difficult than to walk along a tight rope, as if on level ground, and when walking on high to dress and undress, as if sitting on a couch? Does not the performance seem to us to be so frightful, that we are not even willing to look at it, but are terrified and tremble at the very sight? And tell me, what is more difficult than to hold a pole upon your face, and when you have put up a child upon it, to perform innumerable feats and delight the spectators? And what is more difficult than to play at ball 23 with swords? And tell me what is harder than thoroughly to search out the bottom of the sea? And one might mention innumerable other arts).
But easier than all these, if we have the will, is virtue, and the going up into Heaven. For here it is only necessary to have the will, and all [the rest] follows. For we may not say, I am unable, neither accuse the Creator. For if He made us unable, and then commands, it is an accusation against Himself.
1610 [10.] How is it then (some one says) that many are not able? How is it then that many are not willing? For, if they be willing, all will be able. Therefore also Paul says, “I would that all men were even as I myself” (1Co 7,7), since he knew that all were able to be as himself. For he would not have said this, if it had been impossible. Dost thou wish to become [such]? only lay hold on the beginning.
Tell me now, in the case of any arts, when we wish to attain them, are we content with wishing, or do we also engage with the things themselves? 24 As for instance, one wishes to become a pilot; he does not say, I wish, and content himself with that, but he also puts his hand to the work. He wishes to become a merchant; he does not merely say, I wish, but he also puts his hand to the work. Again he wishes to travel abroad, and he does not say, I wish, but he puts his hand to the work. In everything then, wishing alone is not sufficient, but work must also be added; and when thou wishest to mount up to heaven, dost thou merely say, “I wish”?
How then (he says) saidst thou that willing is sufficient? [I meant] willing joined with deeds, the laying hold on the thing itself, the laboring. For we have God working with us, and acting with us. Only let us make our choice, only let us apply ourselves to the matter as to work, only let us think earnestly about it, only let us lay it to heart, and all follows. But if we sleep on, and as we snore expect to enter into heaven, how shall we be able to obtain the heavenly inheritance?
Let us therefore be willing, I exhort you, let us be willing. Why do we carry on all our traffic with reference to the present life, which to-morrow we shall leave? Let us choose then that Virtue which will suffice us through all eternity: wherein we shall be continually, and shall enjoy the everlasting good things; which may we all attain, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
1 “of him that made it.”
2 “in the case of the dead.”
4 “inaugurated.” [ejgkekaivnistai. It cannot be denied that the word in the classics bears both the closely related meanings of inaugurate and consecrate. The English editor has adopted the former throughout this homily; but as the common meaning in the LXX. is consecrate, and as the common name of the festival of the dedication of the restored temple was ejgkaivnia, it seems better to keep to the word adopted both by the A. V. and the Revision.—F. G.]
6 This is not a citation of any words of our Lord: but probably Jn xv. 27. which is substantially equivalent, was the passage intended; the words are those of 1Tm 5,21 [I charge thee before God, Diamartuvromai ejnwvpion tou` Qeou`] thrown into the imperative form.
7 [diaporqmeuvwn, see above, p 379, note 1.]
8 Mr. Field points the passage thus: “we could never have been saved; if our Lord had not died for us, the Law would not have had power,” &c. The translation follows the Bened. pointing, as giving the meaning most in accordance with St. Chrys.’s teaching). [This pointing of the English edition is allowed to stand as making the sense more obvious to the English reader; but Mr. Field’s pointing gives essentially the same sense and is more in St. Chrysostom’s style.—F. G.]
9 o(qen. so Hom. 5,5, p. 69 on c. 3,1.
10 krathtikovn. The common text, besides other additions, adds the explanatory words tou` ai(mato" “of the blood.”
11 The common editions add o]n, determining the meaning to be “he [or it] shows that blood and water are the same thing.”
12 See above on ch. 6,6.
13 or, “and we may almost say that according,” &c.
14 Or as the position of fhsi; after ai|ma would seem to imply was the interpretation of St. Chrys.: “This blood is that of the New Testament,” &c.
16 or, “samples,” “means of showing.”
17 The Greek is ta; hJmevtera, including all our sacraments, services, relations, life and conversation. See Hom. 14,. [S. Chrys. there describes the heavenly things as “spiritual,” and here, in accordance with the whole context, he must refer more to the spiritual than to the outward and ceremonial side of our religion.—F. G.]
18 [There is a paronomasia here which is difficult of expression in English; lit). “our citizenship is in heaven, yet we live as citizens here.”—F. G.]
19 [This passage is obscure; but the meaning seems to be, “This teaching, given above, is the philosophy of those Christians who are called to such studies.”—F. G.]
20 qusiva". Mr. Field adopts the reading of the later mss. (and common editions) oujsiva", “substance,” or “possession.” But the three mss. which he usually follows and the old translation read qusiva", which has been followed in the translation). [There are, however, as many mss. on the other side, and whether oujsiva" be translated “possession” or “reality,” it would give an excellent sense and one well in accordance with the context.—F. G.]
21 tovpw/ ajpokleiovmeno".
22 scevsei kai; oijkeiwvsei.
24 aJptovmeqa tw`n pragmavtwn. The expression (tou` pravgmato" a(ptetai) is repeated in each of the three instances that follow: in the translation it is varied.
1700 He 9,24-10,7
which are the figures1 of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the High Priest entereth into the Holy Place every year with blood of others, for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world. But now, once,2 in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away3 sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
[1.] The Jews greatly prided themselves on the temple and the tabernacle. Wherefore they said, “The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord.” (Jr 7,4). For nowhere else in the earth was such a temple constructed as this, either for costliness, or beauty, or anything else. For God who ordained it, commanded that it should be made with great magnificence, because they also were more attracted and urged on by material things. For it had bricks of gold in the walls; and any one who wishes may learn this in the second [book] of Kings, and in Ezekiel, and how many talents of gold were then expended.
But the second [temple] was a more glorious building, both on account of its beauty, and in all other respects. Nor was it reverenced for this reason only, but also from its being One. For they were wont to resort thither from the uttermost parts of the earth, whether from Babylon or from Ethiopia. And Lc shows this when he says in the Acts: “There were dwelling” there “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene.” (Ac 2,5 Ac 2,9-10). They then who lived in all parts of the world assembled there, and the fame of the temple was great.
What then does Paul do? What [he did] in regard to the sacrifices, that also he does here. For as there he set against [them] the death of Christ, so here also he sets the whole heaven against the temple).
1702 [2.] And not by this alone did he point out the difference, but also by adding that The Priest is nearer to God: for he says, “to appear in the presence4 of God.” So that he made the matter august, not only by the [consideration of] heaven, but also by [that of Christ’s] entering in [there]. For not merely through symbols as here, but He sees God Himself there.
Seest thou that condescension through the lowly things have been said throughout? Why dost thou then any longer wonder that He intercedes there, where He places Himself as a High Priest? “Nor yet, that He should offer Himself often, as the High Priest.”
“For Christ is not entered into the Holy Places made with hands” (he says) “which are the figures5 of the True.” (These then are true; and those are figures,6 for the temple too has been so arranged,7 as the Heaven of Heavens).
What sayest thou? He who is everywhere present, and who filleth all things, doth not He “appear”8 unless He enter into Heaven? Thou seest that all these things pertain to the flesh.
“To appear,” he says, “in the presence of God for us.” What is “for us”? He went up (he means) with a sacrifice which had power to propitiate the Father. Wherefore (tell me)? Was He an enemy? The angels were enemies, He was not an enemy. For that the Angels were enemies, hear what he says, “He made peace as to things on earth and things in Heaven.”9 (Col 1,20). So that He also “entered into Heaven, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” He “now appeareth,” but “for us.”
1703 [3.] “Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the High Priest entereth into the Holy place every year with blood of others.” Seest Thou how many are the differences? The “often” for the “once”; “the blood of others,” for “His own.” 10 Great is the distance. He is Himself then both victim and Priest and sacrifice. For if it had not been so, and it had been necessary to offer many sacrifices, He must have been many times crucified. “For then,” he says, “He must often have suffered since the foundation of the world.”
In this place he has also veiled over 11 something. “But now once more in the end of the world.” Why “at the end of the world”? After the many sins. If therefore, it had taken place at the beginning, then no one would have believed; and He must not die a second time, all would have been useless. But since later, there were many transgressions, with reason He then appeared: which he expresses in another place also, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. But now once in the end of the world, hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Rm 5,20).
1704 [4.] (He 9,27) “And as it is appointed 12 unto men once to die, but after this, the Judgment.” He next says also why He died once [only]: because He became a ransom by one death. “It had been appointed” (he says) “unto men once to die.” This then is [the meaning of] “He died once,” 13 for all. 14 (What then? Do we no longer die that death? We do indeed die, but we do not continue in it: which is not to die at all. For the tyranny of death, and death indeed, is when he who dies is never more allowed to return to life. But when after dying is living, and that a better life, this is not death, but sleep). Since then death was to have possession of all, therefore He died that He might deliver us.
He 9,28. “So Christ was once 15 offered.” By whom offered? evidently by Himself. Here he says that He is not Priest only, but Victim also, and what is sacrificed. 16 On this account are [the words] “was offered.” “Was once offered” (he says) “to bear 17 the sins of many.” Why “of many,” and not “of all”? Because not all believed, For He died indeed for all, that is His part: for that death was a counterbalance 18 against the destruction of all men. But He did not bear the sins of all men, because they were not willing.
And what is [the meaning of] “He bare the sins”? Just as in the Oblation we bear up our sins and say, “Whether we have sinned voluntarily or involuntarily, do Thou forgive,” 19 that is, we make mention of them first, and then ask for their forgiveness. So also was it done here. Where has Christ done this? Hear Himself saying, “And for their sakes I sanctify 20 Myself.” (Jn 17,19). Lo! He bore the sins. He took them from men, and bore them to the Father; not that He might determine anything against them [mankind], but that He might forgive them.
“Unto them that look for Him shall He appear” (he says) “the second time without sin unto salvation.” What is “without sin”? it is as much as to say, He sinneth not. For neither did He die as owing the debt of death, nor yet because of sin. But how “shall He appear”? To punish, you say. He did not however say this, but what was cheering; “shall He appear unto them that look for Him, without sin unto salvation.” So that for the time to come they no longer need sacrifices to save themselves, but to do this by deeds.
1705 [5.] (He 10,1). “For” (he says) “the Law having a shadow of the good things to come not the very image of the things”; i.e. not the very reality. For as in painting, so long as one [only] draws the outlines, it is a sort of “shadow” but when one has added the bright paints and laid in the colors, then it becomes “an image.” Something of this kind also was the Law.
“For” (he says) “the Law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things,” i.e. of the sacrifice, of the remission: “can never by those sacrifices 21 with 22 which they offered continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” () “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me. In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo! I come, in the volume of the book it is written of Me, to do Thy will, O God. Above when He said, Sacrifice, and offering, and burnt-offerings, and [offering] for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, which are offered by the Law, then He said, Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God! He taketh away the first that He may establish the second.”
Thou seest again the superabundance [of his proofs]? This sacrifice (he says) is one; whereas the others were many: therefore they had no strength, because they were many. For, tell me, what need of many, if one had been sufficient? so that their being many, and offered “continually,” proves that they [the worshipers] were never made clean. For as a medicine, when it is poweful and productive of health, and able to remove the disease entirely, effects all after one application; as, therefore, if being once applied it accomplishes the whole, it proves its own strength in being no more applied, and this is its business, to be no more applied; whereas if it is applied continually, this is a plain proof of its not having strength. For it is the excellence of a medicine to be applied once, and not often. So is it in this case also. Why forsooth are they continually cured with the “same sacrifices”? For if they were set free from all their sins, the sacrifices would not have gone on being offered every day. For they had been appointed to be continually offered in behalf of the whole people, both in the evening and in the day. So that there was an arraignment of sins, and not a release from sins; an arraignment of weakness, not an exhibition of strength. For because the first had no strength, another also was offered: and since this effected nothing, again another; so that it was an evidence of sins. The “offering” indeed then, was an evidence of sins, the “continually,” an evidence of weakness. But with regard to Christ, it was the contrary: He was “once offered.” The types 23 therefore contain the figure only, not the power; just as in images, the image has the figure of the man, not the power. So that the reality and the type have [somewhat] in common with one another. For the figure exists equally in both, but not the power. So too also is it in respect of Heaven and of the tabernacle, for the figure was equal: for there was the Holy of Holies, but the power and the other things were not the same.
What is, “He hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”? 24 What is this “putting away”? it is making contemptible. For sin has no longer any boldness; for it is made of no effect in that when it ought to have demanded 25 punishment, it did not demand it: that is, it suffered violence: when it expected to destroy all men, then it was itself destroyed.
“He hath appeared by the sacrifice of Himself” (he says), that is, “He hath appeared,” unto God, and drawn near [unto Him]. For do not [think] because the High Priest was wont to do this oftentimes in the year. ... 26 So that henceforward this is done in vain, although it is done; for what need is there of medicines where there are no wounds? On this account He ordained offerings “continually,” because of their want of power, and that a remembrance of sins might be made.
1706 [6.] What then? do not we offer every day? We offer indeed, but making a remembrance of His death, and this 27 [remembrance] is one and not many. How is it one, and not many? Inasmuch as that 28 [Sacrifice] was once for all offered, [and] carried into the Holy of Holies. This is a figure of that [sacrifice] and this remembrance of that. 29 For we always offer the same, 30 not one sheep now and to-morrow another, but always the same thing: 31 so that the sacrifice is one. And yet by this reasoning, since the offering is made in many places, are there many Christs? but Christ is one everywhere, being complete here and complete there also, one Body. As then while offered in many places, He is one body and not many bodies; so also [He is] one sacrifice. He is our High Priest, who offered the sacrifice that cleanses us. That we offer now also, which was then offered, which cannot be exhausted. This is done in remembrance of what was then done. For (saith He) “do this in remembrance of Me.” (Lc 22,19). It is not another sacrifice, as the High Priest, but we offer 32 always the same, or rather we perform a remembrance of a Sacrifice.
1707 [7.] But since I have mentioned this sacrifice, I wish to say a little in reference to you who have been initiated; little in quantity, but possessing great force and profit, for it is not our own, but the words of Divine Spirit. What then is it? Many partake of this sacrifice once in the whole year, others twice; others many times. Our word then is to all; not to those only who are here, but to those also who are settled in the desert. 33 For they partake once in the year, and often indeed at intervals of two years.
What then? which shall we approve? those [who receive] once [in the year]? those who [receive] many times? those who [receive] few times? Neither those [who receive] once, nor those [who receive] often, nor those [who receive] seldom, but those [who come] with a pure conscience, from a pure heart, with an irreproachable life. Let such draw near continually; but those who are not such, not even once. Why, you will ask? Because they receive to themselves judgment, yea and condemnation, and punishment, and vengeance. And do not wonder. For as food, nourishing by nature, if received by a person without appetite, ruins and corrupts all [the system], and becomes an occasion of disease, so surely is it also with respect to the awful mysteries. Dost thou feast at a spiritual table, a royal table, and again pollute thy mouth with mire? Dost thou anoint thyself with sweet ointment, and again fill thyself with ill savors?
Tell me, I beseech thee, when after a year thou partakest of the Communion, dost thou think that the Forty Days 34 are sufficient for thee for the purifying of the sins of all that time? And again, when a week has passed, dost thou give thyself up to the former things? Tell me now, if when thou hast been well for forty days after a long illness, thou shouldest again give thyself up to the food which caused the sickness, hast thou not lost thy former labor too? For if natural things are changed, much more those which depend on choice. As for instance, by nature we see, and naturally we have healthy eyes; but oftentimes from a bad habit [of body] our power of vision is injured. If then natural things are changed, much more those of choice. Thou assignest forty days for the health of the soul, or perhaps not even forty, and dost thou expect to propitiate God? Tell me, art thou in sport?
These things I say, not as forbidding you the one and annual coming, but as wishing you to draw near continually.
1708 [8.] These things have been given to the holy. This the Deacon also proclaims when he calls on the holy; 35 even by this call searching the faults of all. For as in a flock, where many sheep indeed are in good health, but many are full of the scab, it is needful that these should be separated from the healthy; so also in the Church: since some sheep are healthy, and some diseased, by this voice he separates the one from the other, the priest [I mean] going round on all sides by this most awful cry, and calling and drawing on 36 the holy. For it is not possible that a man should know the things of his neighbor, (for “what man,” he says, “knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?”— 1Co 2,11): he utters this voice after the whole sacrifice has been completed, that no person should come to the spiritual fountain carelessly and in a chance way. For in the case of the flock also (for nothing prevents us from again using the same example), the sickly ones we shut up within, and keep them in the dark, and give them different food, not permitting them to partake either of pure air, or of simple grass, or of the fountain without [the fold]. In this case then also this voice is instead of fetters).
Thou canst not say, ‘I did not know, I was not aware that danger attends the matter.’ Nay surely Paul too especially testified this. But wilt thou say, ‘I never read it’? This is not an apology, but even an accusation. Dost thou come into the Church every day and yet art ignorant of this?
However, that thou mayest not have even this excuse to offer, for this cause, with a loud voice, with an awful cry, like some herald lifting up his hand on high, standing aloft, conspicuous to all, and after that awful silence crying out aloud, he invites some, and some he forbids, not doing this with his hand, but with his tongue more distinctly than with his hand. For that voice, falling on our ears, just like a hand, thrusts away and casts out some, and introduces and presents others.
Tell me then, I beseech [you], in the Olympic games does not the herald stand, calling out with loud and uplifted voice, saying, “Does any one accuse this man? Is he a slave? Is he a thief? Is he one of wicked manners?” And yet, those contests for prizes are not of the soul nor yet of good morals, but of strength and the body. If then where there is exercise of bodies, much examination is made about character, how much rather here, where the soul is alone the combatant. Our herald then even now stands, not holding each person by the head, and drawing him forward, but holding all together by the head within; he does not set against them other accusers, but themselves against themselves. For he says not, “Does any one accuse this man?” but what? “If any man accuse himself.” For when he says, The Holy things for the holy, he means this: “If any is not holy, let him not draw near.”
(He does not simply say, “free from sins,” but, “holy.” For it is not merely freedom from sins which makes a man holy, but also the presence of the Spirit, and the wealth of good works. I do not merely wish (he says) that you should be delivered from the mire, but also that you should be bright and beautiful. For if the Babylonian King, when he made choice of the youths from the captives, chose out those who were beautiful in form, and of fair countenance: much more is it needful that we, when we stand by the royal table, should be beautiful in form, [I mean] that of the soul, having adornment of gold, our robe pure, our shoes royal, the face of our soul well-formed, the golden ornament put around it, even the girdle of truth. Let such an one as this draw near, and touch the royal cups.
But if any man clothed in rags, filthy, squalid, wish to enter in to the royal table, consider how much he will suffer, the forty days not being sufficient to wash away the offenses which have been committed in all the time. For if hell is not sufficient, although it be eternal (for therefore also it is eternal), much more this short time. For we have not shown a strong repentance, but a weak.
1709 [9.] Eunuchs especially ought to stand by the King: by eunuchs, I mean those who are clear in their mind, having no wrinkle nor spot, lofty in mind, having the eye of the soul gentle and quick-sighted, active and sharp, not sleepy nor supine; full of much freedom, and yet far from impudence and overboldness, wakeful, healthful, neither very gloomy and downcast, nor yet dissolute and soft.
This eye we have it in our own power to create, and to make it quicksighted and beautiful. For when we direct it, not to the smoke nor to the dust (for such are all human things), but to the delicate breeze, to the light air, to things heavenly and high, and full of much calmness and purity, and of much delight, we shall speedily restore it, and shall invigorate it, as it luxuriates in such contemplation. Hast thou seen covetousness and great wealth? do not thou lift up thine eye thereto. The thing is mire, it is smoke, an evil vapor, darkness, and great distress and suffocating cares. Hast thou seen a man cultivating righteousness, content with his own, and having abundant space for recreation, having anxieties, not fixing his thoughts on things here? Set [thine eye] there, and lift [it] up on high; and thou wilt make it far the most beautiful, and more splendid, feasting it not with the flowers of the earth, but with those of virtue, with temperance, moderation, and all the rest. For nothing so troubles the eye as an evil conscience (“Mine eye,” it is said, “was troubled by reason of anger”— Ps 6,7); nothing so darkens it. Set it free from this injury, and thou wilt make it vigorous and strong, ever nourished with good hopes.
And may we all make both it and also the other energies of the soul, such as Christ desires, that being made worthy of the Head who is set over us, we may depart thither where He wishes. For He saith, “I will that where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may behold My glory.” (Jn 17,24). Which may we all enjoy in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost be glory, might, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen).
2 a(pax, “once for all.” [The English editor seems to have regarded a(pax as the equivalent for the more emphatic ejfavpax of 7,27, 9,12, 10,10, both here and throughout this Homily. It seems better to retain the distinction of the Greek words.—F. G.]
3 or “annul.”
4 tw`/ proswvpw/, “before the Face.”
8 ejmfanivzetai). “(He makes Himself visible,” “apparent”; so “presents Himself,” or “appears in presence”: in His Human Nature.
9 St. Chrys. understands this passage as meaning that peace was made between things on earth and those in Heaven, between us and the Angels. See his Homily on Col 1,20 [pp. 212 sqq. O. T.]. By introducing this subject of the Father not being inimical to us, he seems to guard against any misinterpretation of what he had said, Hom. 16,.
10 See ver. 12.
11 The Apostle has here stated something covertly. What this is St. Chrys. proceeds to explain.
12 a;povkeitai, “laid up.”
14 uJpe;r aJpavntwn.
16 qu`ma kai; iJerei`on .
17 ajnenegkei`n. Lit. to bring or bear up: hence to refer to or bring before a person, to present. The word is used in the Epistle to the Hebrews for “offer” as a sacrifice; 7,27; 13,15). [This secondary meaning is brought out in 1P 2,24, o)" aJmartiva" hJmwn aujto;" ajnhvnegken ejn tw`/ swvmati aujtou` ejpi; to; xuvlon, “Who bore up our sins in His body upon the cross,” viz. to expiate them. It is a common word in the LXX. for offering sacrifice, both its primary and secondary meanings corresponding to those of the Hebrew word which it translates.—F. G.]
19 [This occurs, not absolutely verbally in the “prayer of Trisagion,” in St. Chrys.’s liturgy. See Dr. Neale’s Liturgies of Mark, &c., p. 121, Hayes, 1859.]
20 aJgiavzw, “devote as a Sacrifice.” See St. Chrys. Homily on the words, John xvii. 19).
21 The common editions have katAE ejniauto;n “year by year,” before tai`" aujtai`" qusivai", as has the old translation of Mutian.; but it is omitted in the best mss.
22 ai\"É a)", “which,” Ben. Sav.
24 St. Chrys. here reverts to ch. 9,26, to supply an explanation of the words eij" ajqevthsin th`" aJmartiva" dia; th`" qusiva" aujtou` pefanevrwtai, which he had omitted before: ajqevthsi" is properly [“setting aside.”—F. C.] “annulling” “rendering invalid and of no effect,” thence it is used for “despising,” “treating as nothing worth.”
25 ojfeivlousa ajpolabei`n .
26 This is an imperfect sentence; the interpolator substitutes for the lacuna and the next sentence the following: “that it was done simply and not because of weakness. For if it were not done because of weakness, why was it done at all? For if there are no wounds, neither is there afterwards need of medicines for the patient.” Mr. Field prefers leaving it as it stands without conjecturing what is omitted: only observing that the words “this is done” refer to the Levitical sacrifices continued after the completion of that on the Cross).
29 tou`to ejkeivnh" tuvpo" ejsti;, kai; au(th ejkeivnh" .
30 to;n aujto;n.
31 to; aujto;.
32 poiou`men, or “make.”
33 The Eremites.
34 Lent; devoted to preparation for the Easter Communion.
35 After the Oblation was made and before the Communion the deacon proclaimed ta; a(gia toi`" aJgivoi", “The Holy things for the holy.”
Chrysostom He 1600